The questions at conference?

15 December 2010 | John Hibbard

With PTC on the horizon, we ask which key topics are likely to dominate debate.

Having just spent a couple of stimulating days in Kuala Lumpur at the Capacity Asia conference, I am looking forward to the Pacific Telecommunications Council (PTC) conference in Hawaii, in anticipation of further discussions on the most interesting elements of the Kuala Lumpur conference. Latency has really hit the headlines recently, prompted by the Hibernia announcement that it is building a new cable across the Atlantic primarily to offer lower latency. This has certainly raised some discussion.

A panel at a previous conference was united in stating that latency was overrated. Yes, there was a customer base that sought it, but the demand was insufficient to justify a 3ms to 6ms reduction. There was a totally different view at Capacity Asia, however; although when the saving with the terrestrial route across Russia was reviewed, it seems that demand was very niche. So I am looking forward to the next round on this topic.

Why has latency suddenly become so important? I had understood that it was driven by financial trading programs, but recently I was told that electronic gaming is booming. Domestic players can win fortunes, but in order to do so speed is of the essence and latency has real value. I await the PTC discussion with real interest.

As demand for capacity continues to boom and there is growing recognition that good connectivity is essential to the economic growth of a country, 40G has now come of age; we wait to hear the status of 100G, which is particularly relevant to Asia.
Another topic of attention is marine maintenance, as all the contracts come up for renewal in the next 12 to 18 months. Is there a formula that will work for all? If this is possible, it would make for an equitable solution. Those working out their new contracts could select from a menu of parameters which are put into a formula, yielding a price which will satisfy both buyer and seller, in this case the owner of the maintenance vessel.

These and other topics provide great fodder for debate at the upcoming PTC conference, which is one of the more significant conferences for the international telecoms community. As the current PTC President, I am deeply involved; but I will be just one of the 2,000 to 3,000 delegates whom we expect again for an intense combination of presentations, panel discussions and networking. I look forward to seeing many of you there.

John Hibbard is CEO of Hibbard Consulting. He can be contacted at: